Parishes: Fawkham

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 2. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1797.

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'Parishes: Fawkham', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 2, (Canterbury, 1797) pp. 444-451. British History Online [accessed 25 April 2024]

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SOUTHWARD from Longfield lies Fawkham, vulgarly called Fakeham. In Domesday it is written Fachesham; in the Textus Roffensis, Falcheham and Falkenham; (fn. 1) and in Birtrick's will, Fealcanham.

THIS PARISH is a lonely unfrequented place, and contains about one thousand acres of land, of which about two hundred and fifty are wood, having no public high road through it. It lies on high ground, among the hills; the soil is much inclined to chalk, and is very slinty and barren, but though it is poor, yet this, as well as the neighbouring parishes in a like situation, is in some measure recompensed by being exceedingly healthy. There are two hamlets in it called Fawkham-green and Fawkham-street. The church stands near the northern boundary of it. The seat of Pennis is situated in the middle of the parish, adjoining to a large wood, which extends quite across it.

FAWKHAM was part of the possessions of Birtrick, of Meopham; who, whilst Ælsstane was bishop of Rochester, who came to the see in 945, and died in 984, devised it, with the consent of Ælfswithe his wife, by his last testament, to Byrware for his life, and then to St. Andrew's church, in Rochester, for the soul of Ælsric and his ancestors. (fn. 2)

This place had been wrested from the church of Rochester during the confusion of the Danish wars, and was given by the Conqueror, at his coming hither, among other possessions of this church, to Odo, bishop of Baieux, his half brother; but archbishop Lanfranc recovered them again in the solemn assembly, held at Pinenden-heath, in 1076, and immediately restored them to bishop Gundulph and the church of St. Andrew, which gift was afterwards confirmed by several of the archbishops of Canterbury. (fn. 3)

In the survey of Domesdey, Fawkham is thus described, under the title of the bishop of Rochester's lands:

The same bishop (of Rochester holds Fachesham. It was taxed at two sulings. The arable land is . . . . . In demesne there is one carucate, and 15 villeins, with three borderers, having four carucates. There is a church, and three servants, and two mills of 15 shillings, and four acres of meadow; wood for the pannage of 30 bogs. In the time of king Edward the Confessor, and afterwards it was worth seven pounds, and now eight pounds.

This place was, soon after the Conqueror's reign, in the possession of a family, who took their name from it, and held it by knight's service of the bishop of Rochester. Robert de Falkeham held it in the reign of king Henry I. as appears by the red book in the exchequer. Walleran de Faukeham held it in the reign of king Henry II. and bore for his arms, Argent, a fess gules, in chief two torteauxes, as they remain in the windows of this church. Soon after which this estate seems to have been separated into two parts, one of which was held by Rose de Faukeham of the bishop of Rochester, and was stiled the manor of Old Fankeham, alias Ashe Faukeham, and the other was held of the bishop by one William le Clerk, and was called New Fawkeham.

In the 8th year of king Edward III. Nicholas Malmains held the former, and Gilbert de Kirkby the latter.

In the 20th year of that reign, Otho de Grandison, who had married Beatrix, daughter and coheir of Nicholas Malmains, and the above mentioned Gilbert de Kirk by paid aid for the manor of Old Fawkeham, with New Fawkeham, as one knight's see and a half, which they held of the bishop of Rochester.

Sir Otho de Grandison died possessed of the MANOR of FAWKEHAM, alias OLD FAWKEHAM, in the 33d year of king Edward III. (fn. 4) He left Sir Thomas Grandison his son and heir, who, doing his sealty, had possession granted of his father's lands. He died, without issue, possessed of this manor, and others in this neighbourhood, in the 50th year of that reign. (fn. 5) In the 22d year of the reign of king Richard II. this manor was become the inheritance of Philippa, grand daughter and heir of Sir Guy Bryan, and widow of John Devereux, who that year married Sir Henry le Scrope, of Masham. She died anno 8 king Henry IV. being then possessed of this manor, and others in these parts, and leaving Elizabeth, wife of Robert Lovel, her sister and next heir. (fn. 6)

Robert Poynings, younger son of Robert lord Poynings, afterwards possessed it by grant from the crown, and died owner of it anno 9 king Edward IV. (fn. 7) leaving Edward, his son and heir, who was a famous soldier in his time; and having been faithful to Henry earl of Richmond, in his distresses, he was, after that earl's attaining the crown, chosen one of his privy council, and made governor of Dover-castle, knight of the Garter, and lord warden of the five ports. He died in the 14th year of king Henry VIII. leaving no legitimate issue; on which his estates escheated to the crown, (fn. 8) whence this of Fawkham was the next year granted to James Dyggis, esq. who that year settled it on his son, John Dyggis and Mildred his wife, daughter of Sir John Scott, in tail male.

From this name it passed by sale to Thomas Barham, of Barham-court, in Teston, whose sole daughter and heir, Anne, in the reign of queen Elizabeth, carried it in marriage to Sir Oliver Boteler, of Sharnbrook, in Bedfordshire, who removed from thence to his father's seat at Teston above mentioned. His descendant, Sir Philip Boteler, bart. died without issue in 1772, possessed of this manor, and by his will, devised one moiety of his estates to Mrs. Elizabeth Bouverie, of Chart Sutton, and the other moiety to Elizabeth, viscountess dowager Folkestone, and William Bouverie, earl of Radnor; and, on an agreement made between them for the partition of these estates, this manor of Fawkham sell to the share of the lady viscountess dowager Folkestone, who died in 1782, on which it came to her only son, the Hon, Philip Bouverie, who has since taken the name of Pusey, and is the present owner of it.

The foundations of the antient mansion house are yet visible; they take up great part of the garden of a public house, for the repairs of which the ruins have been, from time to time, pulled down; what remains of the building seems to have been the walls of the chapel. (fn. 9)

The other part of this manor, or New FAWKHAM, was, after the family of Kirkby was extinct here, part of the possessions of the Rokesles, and after that of the Percys earls of Northumberland, of whom Henry Algernon, fifth earl of Northumberland, was owner of it in the 17th year of Henry VIII. and died the next year possessed of it. Henry the eldest succeeded him in titles, and the 19th year of that reign had possession granted of all the lands which descended to him, as his heir. In the 27th year of that reign, an act passed for assuming to the king and his heirs all the lands and possessions of this earl, in case of failure of heirs of his body; and the earl, by his deed, next year, granted to the king all his manors, castles, lands, &c. (fn. 10)

This manor came afterwards into the possession of White, and his heirs sold it, in queen Elizabeth's reign, to Thomas Walter, gent. who rebuilt the mansion of it, called Pennis, in which he afterwards resided. He left by Alice, daughter of John Kettle, of Darent, several children, of whom John Walter, esq. the eldest son, possessed this estate on his father's death, and resided here. He married Dorcas, eldest daughter of Humphry Michel, esq. of Old Windsor, in Berkshire; but died, s. p. in 1625, and by his will bequeathed some charitable legacies to the poor of this parish, Ash, and Hartley, in which his lands lay. He bore for his arms, Azure, a fess dancette or, between three crowns embattled of the second. His heirs sold this estate to George Gifford, esq. who resided at Pennis, on whose death, in 1704, it came to his son, Thomas Gifford, esq. He, by Anne, his wife, left three daughters and coheirs, and they possessed this estate in undivided thirds till the year 1718, when they agreed to make a partition of their inheritance. In which division this estate, with Pennis, and the lands belonging to it, were allotted to John Selby, in right of Mary his wife, one of the daughters and coheirs. He left two sons, William, who succeeded him at Ightham; and John, to whom he devised Pennis, with this estate at Fawkham, after the death of Mary his wife. She survived him some time, and at her decease left the possession of it to her son, John Selby, who resided here, and after a few years conveyed it to his elder brother, William, before mentioned; on whose death, in 1773, it came to his only son and heir, Wm. Selby, esq. of Pennis, who died possessed of it in 1777, leaving an only daughter and heir, Elizabeth, Borough Selby and his widow surviving, the former died under age, in 1781, and the latter in 1788; on which this, with his other estates, devolved to John Brown, esq. who has since taken the name of Selby, and resides at the Moat in Ightham, and he is the present owner of it.


JOHN WALTER, esq. of Pennis, who died in 1625, devised by his will, to two of the poorest men of each of the three parishes of Fawkham, Ash, and Hartley, large coats of russet cloth; and to two of the poorest widows in each of them a gown of the same yearly, on Dec. 25, when they were to repair to his dwelling house in this parish, in the morning, whence they were to proceed to church, where he appointed a sermon, for which he bequeathed to the minister of this church 10s. a year. After sermon they were to return to his house, and receive a plentiful dinner; for the due performance of which, he bound certain lands for ever.

FAWKHAM is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICION of the diocese and deanry of Rochester. The church is dedicated to St. Mary. It is a small building of one isle and a chancel, with a very low pointed steeple, in which is one bell and appears to be of deep antiquity; over the west door is a curious painted window, ornamented with a rich bordering, within which, in one compartment, is the figure of Wm. de Fawkham, lord of this parish, the donor of the window, habited as a pilgrim, holding in his right hand a Bible, underneath him is his wife, kneeling, her hands conjoined in prayer, the lower part of the figure is lost; to supply which defect there have been placed two shields, with the arms of Grandison, Or, a cross gules charged, with five cotizes of the 1st, between four trefoils slipt, issuing from as many turfs proper; these were in a window on the north side of the body, but through ignorance of the glazier they are here inserted sideways. In the middle compartment are the arms of Fawkham, Argent a fess gules in chief three roundels of the second, which arms are likewise in the north window, but the colour faded; the other figures in this window are those of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, the back ground and other parts of it are richly ornamented. In the body of the church, in a window on the south side was this shield, Azure, six stars of six points, 3, 2, and 1; and in the east window the arms of England. (fn. 11)

Among other monuments and inscriptions in it are the following: In the isle, memorials for John Scudder and his wife; he died 1704; arms above, on a fess three cinquesoils, a chief; a stone, with a brass plate and inscription for Thomas Walter, gent. second son of Thomas Walter, gent. obt. 1601. In the chancel, on the north side, a stone and inscription on brass, for Richard Meredith, esq. clerk of the catry to Q. Elizabeth and K. James, ob. 1607, leaving Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Humphrey Michell, esq. and four sons; above, a shield, being a lion rampant gorged, with a collar and chain affixed to it, reflecting over his back, charged on the shoulder with a mullet. On the south side, within the rails, a stone and brass plate, with inscription, for Dorcas Walter, eldest daughter of Humphry Michell, esquire, of Old Windsor, widow of John Walter of this parish, obt. 1630. On the south side, a mural monument for Bennet, widow of capt; Ambrose Ward, esq. of Hythe, by whom she had four sons, John, William, Ambrose, and George, and three daughters; she was daughter of Thomas Turney, esq. of Brockwell, in Saltwood, ob. 1641; above, azure a cross patee or, impaling Turney. On the east side, a mural monument, with the figures of a man and woman, in the dress of the time, kneeling at an altar, beneath them an inscription for John Walter, esq. of this parish, justice of the peace and quorum; he married Dorcas, eldest daughter of Humphry Michell, esq. of Old Windsor; he bequeathed by his will a bountiful legacy to the poor of this parish, Ash, and Hartley, for ever (as mentioned among the charities in those parishes); he died in 1625; above, are these arms, azure a fess dancette or, between three crowns embattled of the 2d, impaling azure, three leopards reversed, jessant fleurs de lis or, a chief crenelle ermine. (fn. 12)

The patronage of the rectory of Fawkham has ever been an appendage to the manor; and as such has been presented to alternately by the owners of the manor of Old Fawkham, and those of New Fawkham, or Pennis, as it now called; the last presentation being made by Sir Philip Boteler, bart. in 1738. In the 15th of Edward I. this church was valued at 8 marcs.

It was returned by the commission of enquiry, in 1650, issuing out of chancery, that Fawkham was a parsonage, with a house and one acre of land, all worth 40l. per annum, master Ashboule enjoying it, and preaching there, being put in by the parliament. (fn. 13) It is valued in the king's books at 6l. 9s. 4½d. and the yearly tenths at 12s. 11¼d. (fn. 14)

Sir William de Fawkham, in 1274, founded a chantry in this church, in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and for the good of the souls of himself and his successors; which he endowed with five marcs of yearly rent, in pure and perpetual alms, to be paid out of land in Southfleet and Herthone, and with a house in Fawkham. This was confirmed by John, bishop of Rochester, in 1278. There is mention made in the Registrum Rossense of the chantry of St. Catherine in this church.

Church of Fawkham.

Or by whom presented.
Warinus, in 1316. (fn. 15)
Wm. Baker, A. M. 1619.
Ashboule, 1650. (fn. 16)
Wallis, 1700.
Mr. Gifford's Heirs Thomas Knipe, pres. 1712, resig. 1720.
Edmund Barrell, A. M. (fn. 17)
Richard Taylor, obt. 1712.
John Taylor, obt. 1758. (fn. 18)
Sir Philip Boteler, bart Edmund Marshall, A. M. pres. 1758. Present rector. (fn. 19)


  • 1. Text. Roff. p. 139, 230.
  • 2. See this will, under Meopham.
  • 3. Text. Roff. p. 142. Dugd. Mon. vol. iii. p. 2. Reg. Roff. p. 442.
  • 4. Rot. Esch. ejus an. No. 41.
  • 5. Ibid. No. 36.
  • 6. Dug. Bar. vol. i. p. 659.
  • 7. Ibid. vol. ii. p. 130.
  • 8. Dudg. Bar. ibid. See Goddington, in Chelsfield.
  • 9. See an engraving and account of it in Castumal Roff. p. 116.
  • 10. See North Cray, p. 153.
  • 11. See a fine engraving of this window and descrip. of it in Cust. Roff. p. 114.
  • 12. See the monuments and inscrip. in this church in Reg. Roff. p. 992.
  • 13. Parl. Surv. Lamb. lib. vol. xix.
  • 14. Bacon's Lib. Regis.
  • 15. Reg. Roff. p. 113.
  • 16. Parl. Surv. Lamb. lib. vol. xix.
  • 17. He resigned this vicarage for that of Boxley. See Sutton-at-Hone.
  • 18. Son of the former, and also vicat of Darent.
  • 19. Afterwards presented to Charing, which he had a dispensation to hold with this rectory.